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A.N.A. Bulletin, 24/11/95

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 749), November 24, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece welcomes lifting on sanctions on former Yugoslavia

  • [2] Premier making steady progress, doctors say

  • [3] Greece reminds EU partners of need for common foreign policy

  • [4] Parliament foreign, defence c'tee convenes

  • [5] Greece formally objects to Ellemann-Jensen candidacy

  • [6] News in Brief

  • [7] Samaras stresses need for citizen's charter

  • [8] ND discusses premier's health

  • [9] Moscow conference examines plight of Russian Greeks

  • [10] EU ministers discuss illegal immigration

  • [11] Europarliament discusses development of information society

  • [12] OA office attacked

  • [13] Greek Parliament links up with ANA news, data services

  • [14] KEDKE annual conference begins

  • [15] New data bank on water resources announced

  • [16] 'Modest' turnout for GSEE-ADEDY rally

  • [17] Students continue campaign for increased education spending

  • [18] Sifounakis confers with Belgian tour agencies on tourism issues

  • [19] Gov't fails to deal with crisis, Coalition leader says

  • [20] Consumers will bear burden of proposed energy tax, IOBE says

  • [21] Gov't happy with Commission report

  • [22] Greece favors simpler EU regulations


  • [1] Greece welcomes lifting on sanctions on former Yugoslavia

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece yesterday expressed its satisfaction at the UN Security Council's decision late on Wednesday night to suspend sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro, in the wake of the peace accord initialed by the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

    Press and Media Minister Telemahos Hytiris said the move would prove to be positive for the consolidation of peace in the region and was expected to have "very positive repercussions" for the Greek economy.

    Greece has been one of the neighboring countries adversely affected by the UN sanctions on the former Yugoslavia, primarily due to a re-routing of exports to western Europe. Exporters say they have sustained losses of more than $2.5 billion.

    Replying to questions, Mr. Hytiris did not rule out the participation of Greek troops in a force to replace the current UN peacekeepers in former Yugoslavia.

    "The present circumstances are completely different from those which prevailed until recently and in particular different from the circumstances at the time when (Greece's) political leaders decided that Greece should not involve itself in the crisis in the region," he said.

    "Now," he continued, "there is a peace agreement which must be built upon and we must all assist. Greece in principle takes a positive stance regarding the possibility of participating in this effort in which non-NATO members and, particularly, accepted by the three parties, will also participate."

    Greece has maintained all along that no Balkan country should become involved in the Bosnian conflict.

    The foreign ministry said Greece had kept open channels of communication with the three parties to the crisis in former Yugoslavia and would continue to do so during the period of peace.

    Foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas was responding to press questions on whether there were any plans for Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias to visit former Yugoslavia within the framework of the region's reconstruction.

    "Greece kept channels of communication open throughout the crisis and played a constructive role. Greece's policy on the Balkans is well known. It is a policy which seeks peace, co-operation, security and the development of all Balkan peoples," Mr. Bikas said.

    Greece has repeatedly stated its commitment to assisting reconstruction efforts in the war-torn region, most recently by President Kostis Stephanopoulos during his state visit to Sofia earlier this week.

    [2] Premier making steady progress, doctors say

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Doctors treating Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou for a lung infection at the Onassion Cardiology Centre said yesterday he was making steady progress.

    A medical communique read by Onassion deputy director Grigorios Skalkeas at midday said the premier's general condition had improved over the past 24 hours and efforts to take him completely off the respirator were continuing smoothly without problems.

    Mr. Skalkeas said that the premier's respiratory function had already improved considerably and that he was breathing on his own for long periods.

    Inferring that Mr. Papandreou would have no need of any mechanical support by today or Saturday at the latest, Mr. Skalkeas said it was still too early to say when the premier could be discharged.

    After been taken off the respirator, Mr. Skalkeas said, the next step for the premier would be a period of recuperation to regain his strength.

    He clarified that the microbe which had caused the "mild form of pneumonia" had still not been identified, but that the antibiotics which were being administered were considerably helping to combat the infection.

    The second bulletin of the day, issued at 8pm, said laboratory tests carried out since midday, confirmed the earlier satisfactory clinical condition and steady progress.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said earlier there had been a recovery on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday following initial losses following the premier's admission to hospital.

    "The situation is returning to normal," he said, describing as insignificant" the effect of the premier's condition on the economy in the first few days following his hospitalization.

    Saying that he had briefed the premier on the situation concerning the economy, Mr. Hytiris stressed that there was no concern about the stability of the drachma and "no hope for speculators".

    He also reiterated that there was no question of the premier being temporarily replaced.

    "The prime minister is Andreas Papandreou," he said.

    Replying to questions, Mr. Hytiris said the country would be represented as appropriate at the European Union summit in Madrid at the end of the year.

    [3] Greece reminds EU partners of need for common foreign policy

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Relations between the European Union and third countries should be conducted within the framework of the common foreign and defence policy, foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas yesterday. Mr. Bikas was commenting on a meeting in Germany yesterday between the German, British, French, Italian and Spanish foreign ministers with Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal, in which the EU foreign ministers told Mr. Baykal that they would support Ankara's customs union with the EU.

    "Greece's position is that there are Community procedures within the framework of the common foreign and defence policy and it is within this framework that relations between the EU and third countries should be conducted," he said.

    Noting that the issue of the EU-Turkey customs union was an institutional matter of great importance, Mr. Bikas said that "a particularly important group of EU member states" shared Greece's views.

    Asked to comment on news reports that Turkish Premier Tansu Ciller had been invited to attend the EU summit in Spain, Mr. Bikas referred to the position expressed by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou at the Cannes summit, stressing that "in the existing framework of relations between Turkey and the EU, it is not necessary to invite Turkey to the Community summit in Spain".

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said later that Ms Ciller would not be participating in the EU summit.

    "She will not even be attending the dinner. She will simply be in Madrid at the same time that the summit is held," Mr. Hytiris said.

    He did not rule out the possibility of the Turkish prime minister seeking meetings with the leaders of the 15 EU member states while in Madrid, adding that it was almost certain she would request a meeting with the Spanish presidency.

    [4] Parliament foreign, defence c'tee convenes

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee convened yesterday, with bilateral relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria and Turkey on the agenda.

    Discussions centered on Greek-Turkish relations; however, a brie-fing by Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos was postponed because the meeting was interrupted by a Parliament roll call vote.

    Meanwhile, former alternate foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos criticized the absence of Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias from the committee's session.

    [5] Greece formally objects to Ellemann-Jensen candidacy

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece has expressed its opposition to the candidacy of former Danish foreign minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen for the position of NATO Secretary-General "through the appropriate channels", government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said yesterday. Mr. Hytiris made the statement when asked if Greece preferred a particular candidate to take over from Willy Claes. He did not mention which candidate Greece favored.

    [6] News in Brief

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    The foreign ministry's Secretary-General for EU affairs Athanasios Theodorakis has been appointed deputy general director for development at the European Union's Eighth Directorate in Brussels. Mr. Theodorakis will take up his new post on December 1.

    [7] Samaras stresses need for citizen's charter

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras called for a change in society through the reduction of state power and the broadening of citizens' freedoms, in his address to the French-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

    Mr. Samaras stressed that his party's main objective was the implementation of a citizens' charter based on social sensitivity and human dignity.

    In his speech, Mr. Samaras commented on the state of the economy and defended his proposals for the aggressive sliding of the drachma in order to improve the competitiveness of internal production.

    He also referred to national issues, saying that Greece had "lost everything" in the Skopje issue, and said that a panhellenic conference must be called for the Cyprus problem.

    "Greece wants good relations with all sides, and definitely with the unique superpower of today, the United States, but its natural place is in Europe," he said.

    [8] ND discusses premier's health

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    The main opposition New Democracy party's Political Council yesterday discussed the state of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's health and possible developments, stressing that the problem created by the "power vacuum" should be resolved as soon as possible.

    "Greece needs to be governed and there are issues which have to be tended to both on the domestic and foreign front. ND expresses its concern over liquidity prevailing in the government sector which is sealed by the inertia and lack of coordination of t he government's work. The continuation of the state imposes on the government to undertake its responsibilities in tackling problems," party spokesman Vassilis Manginas said afterwards.

    Replying to a questioner on whether ND believed there would be an early election at the government's initiative, Mr. Manginas said the party had called for elections before the prime minister's health problem had appeared, it called for elections now as well and was ready to face them with success.

    Mr. Manginas also said it was up to the government to decide on whether the President of the Republic should represent the country at the forthcoming Madrid EU summit or whether the prime minister's stand-in should attend.

    Another issue discussed by the Political Council was the vote at the European Parliament on customs union between Turkey and the European Union; it was decided that ND Eurodeputies will vote against the pact since "Turkey does not respect human rights."

    Views were also exchanged on recent disturbances at the Athens Polytechnic and the Korydallos prison riot, while it was announced that the party's Parliamentary Group will convene on December 5.

    [9] Moscow conference examines plight of Russian Greeks

    Moscow, 24/11/1995 (ANA/D. Konstantakopoulou):

    A conference on Russian Greeks' "Past and Present" was organized in Moscow by the Russian Ministry of Nationalities and Peripheral Policies, the Pontos International Union of Greeks and the Union of Greek Companies in Russia.

    The conference concentrated mainly on problems of Greek restoration, as Greeks were among the twelve "repressed nations" who suffered mass ethnic persecution during Stalinism. The Greek organizations are also taking part in the Federation of Repressed Peoples.

    Greek representatives speaking at the conference referred to the repeated persecutions of Greeks, who often fled from the Turks to the Caucasus, and their contribution to victory against fascism. They also stressed the need for the issuing of the presidential decree for the restoration of Greeks, as foreseen in Article 13 of Russian law on the restoration of "repressed peoples".

    [10] EU ministers discuss illegal immigration

    Brussels, 24/11/1995 (ANA/P. Pantelis) :

    European Union justice and internal ministers agreed yesterday on the definition of the term "refugee", connected to current problems regarding the entry into the European Union of refugees and illegal immigrants from third countries.

    Greece was represented at the Council by the permanent Greek representative in Brussels, Ambassador Apostolidis, whose request for the implementation of re-entry clauses in joint agreements between the European Union and third countries was accepted.

    In order to deal with the problem of illegal immigration, particularly from Asian and African countries, the Council's decision for joint action to be taken by EU airports according to the method of entry used by nationals of third countries was accepted.

    The European Court's role regarding the treaty on Europol (European police) signed last July was not agreed upon. Britain held reservations on the matter, and the subject will be re-examined and discussed at the next General Affairs Council.

    Other matters discussed included a study on organized crime from central and eastern European countries. This study will form the basis for proposals regarding any action to be taken regarding this matter.

    Drug problems were also discussed, based on a study including data from ministries from all 15 member states.

    [11] Europarliament discusses development of information society

    Brussels, 24/11/1995 (ANA) :

    Addressing the European Parliament's Culture and Media Committee yesterday, Greek Radio-Television (ERT) representative Zoe Lanara warned of a danger of isolation of the audiovisual media of the outlying regions of the European Union, posed by the entry of multimedia in the market.

    Ms. Lanara, also representing the International Union of Employees in the Audiovisual Sector, had been invited to address the committee by Political Spring Eurodeputy Katerina Daskalaki, on the future of public and private television in view of the advent of new technologies and the society of information.

    Ms. Lanara and Ms. Daskalaki stressed the danger of the development of information-rich and information-poor countries in the European Union, and the resulting need for technological modernization and training in the smaller countries through support from the structural funds.

    The hearing was attended by representatives of major European media companies and organizations, including the BBC, RAI, TF1, Bertelsmann, ARTE, and EBU.

    The need for support to public television organizations was stressed by most participants, being the sole agent capable of guaranteeing cultural diversity and quality, in view of the intensification of international competition as a result of the advent of multimedia.

    [12] OA office attacked

    Geneva, 24/11/1995 (ANA/AFP):

    Unknown suspects firebombed an Olympic Airways office here yesterday morning.

    According to reports, suspects threw an incendiary device into the office after first breaking in through a front entrance.

    Damages are estimated at 13 million drachmas.

    [13] Greek Parliament links up with ANA news, data services

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece's Parliament became the latest client of ANA's wide assortment of information services yesterday morning during a ceremony in the MPs' lounge.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis announced the 300-member legislative body's connection with ANA in the presence of agency General Director Andreas Christodoulides.

    Mr. Kaklamanis said the ANA services will cover Parliament's requirements for access to news services as well as provide deputies, political parties and reporters with direct and reliable information.

    Eight computers have been set up in Parliament with access to ANA's wide range of services, including on-going news coverage and data banks, which contain biographies of Greek politicians, election results and ANA articles dating from 1989 until the pre sent.

    The Parliament president thanked Mr. Christodoulides for his co-operation in establishing the advanced electronic link-up between Parliament and ANA.

    In referring to the ANA's general director, Mr. Kaklamanis said he was one of his past associates when the current Parliament president was minister and Mr. Christodoulides was president of Greek Radio-Television (ERT).

    He said the ANA general director had "correct and radical opinions concerning modernization and progress in mass media, especially in public media."

    Mr. Kaklamanis said Mr. Christodoulides had made significant efforts at ERT, adding: "If this effort had continued, ERT would today be several years ahead. It is with great pleasure that today I see many of the proposals he made in 1987-1988 applied at the ANA."

    Mr. Christodoulides in turn displayed the ANA data banks' capabilities to reporters, deputies present at the ceremony and Parliament employees.

    ANA's services to Parliament are broken down into two categories - general news and data banks. General news includes a provincial report, a radio-television report and the English/French six-day-a-week "Bulletin."

    ANA data banks contain news and articles divided into categories (foreign, domestic) and subjects (political, economic etc.) as well as by special topic (the Cyprus issue, terrorism, mass media etc.)

    As mentioned, data banks include politicians', deputies' and international political figures' biographies as well as election results beginning from 1844, sports news and news in English.

    The eight on-line computers are located in each of the four political parties' offices, in a reporters' workstation, in Parliament's data processing department, its international and public relations department and in the MPs' lounge.

    [14] KEDKE annual conference begins

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Athens Mayor and President of the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE) Dimitris Avramopoulos called for satisfactory funding, institutional strengthening and modernization in local governments in his address yesterday during the annual KEDKE conference being held in Rhodes.

    The Athens mayor spoke to some 2,000 delegates gathered on the Dodecanese island for the organization's conference. The main theme at this year's conference concerns the upgrading and status of local government entities.

    "The centralized state, which has not been able to modernize and fulfill its mission within the new realities, and an expanding crisis in reliability characterizing Greek society and our political system tend to discredit the institution of local government," he said.

    Several ministers and ruling PASOK party officials also addressed conference delegates, including Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos and PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said a method of back payments to local government employees for 1990-1992 has been approved in a joint interior and finance ministries' agreement.

    The interior minister said a 15,000-drachma election duty stipend will also be paid.

    Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos referred to funding sources available to local governments through Law 2218 and Law 2240. He said few municipalities and communities have taken advantage of the legislations and continue to rely on direct government funding, a prospect he said cannot continue indefinitely. Mr. Papadopoulos also promised that 5 per cent of interest rate taxes will be delivered to local governments, with a final target of around 20 per cent envisaged.

    Mr. Skandalidis called for the need to decentralize not only responsibilities but funding sources as well in order to facilitate harmonious co-operation with the central government.

    [15] New data bank on water resources announced

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Environment Under-secretary Elizabeth Papazoi announced yesterday the creation of a data bank on all underground and surface water in Greece.

    The budget for the information bank has been set at 1.5 billion drachmas and works are scheduled to be completed in two years.

    The subject of the study will be the documentation of all meteorological, hydrological and climatological data, which will be studied in order to explore possibilities for the management of the country's water resources.

    Ms. Papazoi added that 100 billion drachmas will be made available for flood prevention works in Attica over the next three years. She invited mayors of vulnerable areas to undergo a change of attitude regarding the management of streams, as the majority have been filled in and the sites used for building.

    [16] 'Modest' turnout for GSEE-ADEDY rally

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) and the Athens Labor Centre (EKA) rallied in Athens yesterday for "an end to 10-year austerity, an increase in funds for social expenditures and the promotion of a courageous and democratic taxation reform".

    The rally at Kaningos Square, organized in light of the debate on the new 1996 state budget, culminated in a march to Parliament where a memorandum was delivered to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    GSEE Secretary-General George Mavrikos said the rally was "dignified under the circumstances".

    Tension among union groupings might also have played a role in the modest turnout since their economic claims vary considerably.

    [17] Students continue campaign for increased education spending

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    University students marched to the education ministry at noon yesterday, demanding an increase in education spending, continued free textbooks and the prevention of private universities being allowed to function.

    Police were on standby outside the ministry in Mitropoleos street where students approached police officers and offered them flowers.

    Students' representatives met Education Ministry Secretary-General Yiannis Panaretos and briefed him on their claims. They later told their colleagues Mr. Panaretos gave no promises that their problems would be resolved and the students will organize another march.

    In another development, about 200 students and self-styled anarchists marched from the Athens Polytechnic to Parliament, protesting the intervention of riot police last weekend, the abolition of university asylum and ensuing arrests.

    They were stopped by police near Constitution Square. Most students dispersed without incident while others headed back to the Polytechnic, where police had been deployed as a preventive measure.

    [18] Sifounakis confers with Belgian tour agencies on tourism issues

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Tourism Minister Nikos Sifounakis and Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) Secretary-General Apostolos Kossonas met yesterday with the presidium of the Federation of Belgian Tour Operators in the framework of the International Tourist Exhibition B.T.F.

    Talks focused on ways of resolving problems faced by Belgian tourists in Greece as well as the better promotion of Greece in the Belgian market.

    The Greek tourism leadership reassured the Belgian side that efforts are being made for improvements which will become visible during the next tourist season.

    On the question of supporting Belgian travel organizations with funds for advertising Greece, the Greek side said it is awaiting specific proposals by the end of the year to assess them and promote them for implementation.

    [19] Gov't fails to deal with crisis, Coalition leader says

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Coalition of the Left and Progress President Nikos Constantopoulos said the government has failed to "face a growing political and social crisis" during a speech yesterday at the Piraeus Shipping Club.

    "A change in the political system... and political choices is needed for the vicious cycle of decomposition and decline to be broken," the Coalition leader said.

    He called for support of the unemployed, the lower-paid classes, pensioners, small-to-medium-sized businesses, and farmers as well as for a more just tax system and use of Community funds.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said the nation's political problem stems from a "premier-centered democracy."

    In terms of merchant shipping, he said the Coalition is against the denationalization of Hellenic Shipyards at Skaramangas, saying a reduction of operating costs can be achieved through modernization.

    [20] Consumers will bear burden of proposed energy tax, IOBE says

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    Consequences of a European Union-proposed energy and environmental tax will not be negligible for the Greek economy, according to figures released yesterday by Economic and Industrial Research Institute (IOBE) researchers.

    Such a tax, which has generated widespread criticism during discussions in Brussels, would attempt to save energy sources and protect the environment by discouraging excessive energy usage. The proposed tax directly affects Greece because it produces 90 per cent of its electricity using lignite and oil, fuels that produce high emissions of carbon dioxide, which are thus subject to the special tax. The IOBE study states that such a tax will not affect industrial energy consumption, but will affect household and commercial consumption.

    Production costs are estimated to rise under such a proposal, a fact that would lessen Greek companies' competitiveness.

    [21] Gov't happy with Commission report

    Athens, 24/11/1995 (ANA):

    The government yesterday expressed satisfaction at the European Commission's half-yearly report on the course of the Greek economy which said the drachma was one of the Community's most stable currencies.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said the report proved that the Greek economy had acquired international "prestige" which the government aimed to further strengthen.

    He said that the government would continue to implement its economic policy "unswervingly, particularly now that its positive results have been acknowledged internationally".

    [22] Greece favors simpler EU regulations

    Brussels, 24/11/1995 (ANA/P. Pantelis):

    National Economy Under-secretary Ioannis Anthopoulos presented Greece's positions yesterday during discussions on the Molitor Report, which deals with simplification of Community legislation.

    The Greek under-secretary spoke during a ministers' council session concerning internal markets.

    Specifically, Mr. Anthopoulos said Greece favored a simplification of procedures, a decrease or even elimination of regulations that will successfully reach "White Paper" goals for competitiveness and employment.

    However, he said the government does not accept what he said were the report's "excesses" in the field of labor laws nullifying gains earned through the European Social Charter.

    End of English language section.

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